Anything on the shelf is poison until proven otherwise?

“Anything on the shelf (i.e. in the middle of the store) is poison until proven otherwise.” Robert Lustig

This sounds radical.  But IS there merit in it?

I always return to the premise that God knew what He was doing when He created the world and us.  From the beginning He provided the nutrient-dense foods we needed and gave us the wisdom to prepare them properly.

Innately, traditional cultures used processes that improved the quality of the food.  They increased the vitamins, made the food more digestible, and liberated the minerals for us to absorb them.

For example, grains and nuts were soaked, fermented, or sprouted.  Think of Mexicans soaking corn in lime to ferment the corn before making tortillas, Ethiopians soaking their tef flour to make their injera bread, or our ancestors making sourdough bread before yeast came onto the market (making preparation time much quicker).

Vegetables were cooked or fermented. Think of sauerkraut, pickles and kimchi.

And dairy was cultured.  Think of cheese, yogurt, kefir, and sour cream.

Modern processing does the opposite of traditional processing techniques.  Instead of enhancing the quality of the food; it takes out nutrients and makes the nutrients less available and harder to metabolize.

Most all modern packaged food products are highly refined and denatured; and, hence, do not serve us.

When a food is refined, some of the nutrients have been removed.  And in most cases the shelf life has been extended.

Examples of refined foods:

Sugar (known for being first refined food) One molecule of refined sugar requires 56 molecules of magnesium and a whole host of other nutrients to metabolize.  Where do these nutrients come from?  You got it!  They come from your own bodies, mainly your bones. Also, the metabolism of the fructose molecule in refined sugar induces oxidative stress which can lead to a whole array of disorders.  However, if you were to test a piece of pure sugar cane in a laboratory, you would see that it has the magnesium and the other co-factors necessary for proper metabolism.
Fruit Juice Fruit in its whole form, has the fiber we need to metabolize it properly. Fruit juice on the other hand does not have the fiber and in essence is like consuming refined sugar because of the effects of fructose on the liver.
White flour When we make white flour, we take out most of the minerals and vitamins in the grain.
Skim milk When we make skim milk, we lose the fat which is essential for the absorption of our fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, & K.

When a food is denatured, its nutrients are either destroyed, made harder to absorb, or made toxic or rancid through processes such as pasteurization and irradiation.

Examples of denatured foods:

Milk The pasteurization of milk sterilizes it, BUT at the same time destroys all the natural enzymes needed to digest it.
Non-organic spices Non-organic spices are often irradiated. The irradiation takes away the bacteria, but leaves the toxins caused by the bacteria.
Vegetable oils Vegetable oils are both refined and denatured.  They are highly fragile, cause free radicals to form and are extremely carcinogenic. Free radicals damage cell membranes, DNA, and other cellular structures and contribute to the formation of atherosclerotic plague.
Almonds grown in the USA All almonds grown in the USA by law must be pasteurized, destroying many beneficial enzymes.

Weston A. Price called these foods we are discussing here “displacing foods of modern commerce.”  They give you temporary energy and pleasure but do not nourish you. Hence, you are still hungry.

We are all familiar with the phrase, “short term pain for long term gain.”

But here we have the reverse, “short term gain for long term pain.”  The quick fix and fleeting pleasure of a sugary, refined or denatured food lead to long term, chronic health problems.

Of course, also a part of modern processing is the addition of artificial sweeteners and preservatives.  But I will save that discussion for another day.

Instead let me encourage you with a fun, success story from one of my clients:

“After transitioning to non-processed foods, I planned the meals for our family beach weeks and get-togethers.  My sister and her teenage niece constantly commented, ‘we love coming to visit you; we always know we’re going to eat better than at home and we feel better when we leave.’  I know it is because I used fresh, whole, unprocessed foods.  It was very basic; I am not a fancy cook.  What’s more I used no sugar or sweeteners.”   Faye E.

My challenge step for you this week is to shop the perimeter of the store and skip the middle aisles.  See how you do, see if you have a different perspective of shopping.

And REMEMBER!  I am here to help you figure out what changes you’d like to make and how to make them… including where and how to shop.

So, book your FREE 30-minute Discovery Call today! Let’s discuss how I can help guide you, in a way that fits your individual needs and lifestyle.

Peace and grace,




Set up your FREE 30 min. DISCOVERY CALL today! Discover how my 5-Week Sugar Detox Class can help you reclaim your best health!

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4 thoughts on “Anything on the shelf is poison until proven otherwise?”

  1. The point you made about fruit juice as opposed to the fruit itself is very interesting. What about when the entire fruit is used to make the juice, so that the fiber and everything is contained in the juice?

    1. If you are pressing it or blending it such that all the fiber is still present, nothing has been extracted, then I would think it is the same as consuming the whole fruit.

      What are you using to make fruit juice using the whole fruit?

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Enjoy these favorite dishes. 
Simple, nutrient dense recipes that will leave you feeling well-nourished and deeply satisfied.
Plus monthly REAL food tips & inspiration right to your inbox!
Simply sign up with your name and email address!